It seems Japanese carmaker Mazda Motor Corp. has found a new way to implement a rear spoiler on its vehicles. In fact, Mazda has filed two patents – with the United States Patent & Trademark Office -- that would become vital elements of its innovative active rear spoiler.
Carmakers typically try to increase the aerodynamic performance of their vehicles by installing rear spoilers, which are also called rear wings. By spoiling unfavorable air movement over a moving vehicle, a rear spoiler could decrease the so-called aerodynamic turbulence or drag while generating more downforce. These rear spoilers are typically fixed – mounted permanently with an undeviating position – on the rear of the vehicle. Since these are fixed-mounted to the rear of the vehicle, the aesthetics of the model seems compromised from the rear viewpoint.
Nonetheless, there are those so-called active rear spoilers that rise automatically when the vehicle reaches a certain speed, and then settles down to fit flush with the vehicle when the speed goes down to a certain level. This way, the aesthetics of the vehicle would be enhanced, as the rear spoiler could be hidden flush when not really needed.
Now, it appears that Mazda is also planning to install active rear spoilers on its vehicles. However, the design, mechanism and implementation of this active rear spoiler are quite different from the usual. Instead of just protruding up when deployed, Mazda’s groundbreaking active rear spoiler would extend outward and upward.
The patents applied by Mazda concerns vital elements of the active rear spoiler system: the spoiler itself, the tail lights and the uncovered recess on the tail lights. According to the patent filings, the elongated plate-shaped rear spoiler is made from resin and substantially covers the entire length of the rear end of the vehicle. The active rear spoiler is divided into three main parts – the central part and the two flanking outer parts. The central part is attached to the outer parts by a coupling part. Interestingly, the outer parts are lower and thinner than the central part. This was intended so as to not to obscure the tail lights when the active rear spoiler is in a descending position.
It seems that the taillights and the recess described on the patent filings are part of a new design for Mazda. However, these taillights and their respective recesses could give rise to turbulence when the vehicle is moving in high speed. When the active rear spoiler is deployed in an ascending position, the turbulence generated by the taillights and recesses are reduced, resulting to a superior aerodynamic performance. The active rear spoiler could be moved to a descending position to enhance the styling value of the vehicle.
This setup could be seen on the rear end of the Mazda RX-Vision Concept that was unveiled at the 2015 Tokyo Motor Show, although Mazda didn’t demonstrate how it works. However, Mazda is expected to unveil a revised version of the concept this month at the 2017 Tokyo Motor Show. This time, a demonstration of this new active rear spoiler could happen.